heart to heart || Chile

Hi there! I am currently sitting in my apartment overlooking the city of Santiago, Chile and drinking a cup of coffee that I bought from the little market across the street. So tonight, I felt the need to write because writing is how I process the never-ending current of thoughts flowing through my mind, but I wanted to do something a little different tonight.

I want to pretend that we are having a heart to heart conversation right now, as if you and I are sipping coffee together and discussing life and everything under the sun and laughing at the craziness of it all. 

So hello, my dear friend. I hope that you had a moment today where you laughed so hard that you cried and a moment that made you sit back and smile. I have a few stories that I want to share with you from the past weekend and some things that have been on my mind lately.

My first story starts with a twisted road up a mountain and a pair of skis. A small group of us took a trip to Valle Nevado on Saturday to go skiing in the Andes Mountains for the day. Bundled up head to toe in our gear, we climbed into a van full of strangers for the next hour and half journey to reach the top of the mountain. However, there were a few people from England, Scotland and Belgium on our van, who we soon befriended and chatted with for the remainder of the drive. One of my favorite things is meeting people from other places with completely different lifestyles and cultures, yet to be reminded that people, regardless of where they are from, are just people- what a beautiful thing to realize. Once we arrived to the mountain, we could hardly contain our excitement as we rode the ski lift to hit our first slope that we had so anxiously been awaiting. If you have ever been skiing before, you will know what I am talking about when I ask you this. You know that feeling that you get, mid-mountain, with skis gliding flawlessly along the freshly powered snow, a view of pure majesty encompassing your surroundings, and an overwhelming sense of freedom that makes your jaw drop in awe? I am honestly getting chills just thinking about it!

If you know me, one thing is without a doubt true that I reluctantly admit because of pride. Directions. I am the worst at following them. I mean the kind of directions like when you are trying to follow a map (major s/o to Google Maps), not the kind when you are trying to listen listening to an instruction (even though sometimes I am lacking in this area too…but that is a story for another day, my friend). I promise this has a point. Before skiing down the run we had previously chosen, our group decided to meet at a lift near the bottom of the mountain. Midway down the slope, I felt like Waldo in one of those pictures where he is hidden so well, that you soon begin to doubt he is even in there. I decided I had two options. One, go sit in a coffee shop and cry away my worries because getting lost makes me nervous and I hate being alone. Or two, go have the time of my life skiing in the Andes Mountains by myself and seize the moment.

After spending ten minutes trying to wade through snow because I kept falling almost knee deep and was starting to get stares from the onlookers (true story), I hopped on another ski lift and asked the girl next to me if she knew other good routes to take on the mountain, explaining to her that I was lost from my friends. I found out her name is Claudia and her dad, who was on the ski lift as well, Gonzalo. She told me how she hopes to be fluent in English and I told her how I hope to be fluent in Spanish, so we decided to help each other with words we didn’t understand. She invited me to ski with her and her dad down the mountain to meet her mom and boyfriend for coffee. We sat at this little café and talked about life in Chile, politics in the United States, their family, school, work and enjoyed the company of new friends. When we got back to the slopes, I ran into my group again and joined them for the day. But I learned a valuable lesson that day from facing my fear of being alone that will carry on into the rest of my life.

Sometimes getting lost isn’t so lonely, and you may be surprised when you are unexpectedly found. 

My second story is another one of my favorite memories looking back on this trip. On Sunday morning, a few friends and I hopped on a bus to go to a missionary church here in Santiago. Once we finally found it, we realized we were an hour and half early. Hoping to find a place to eat, we walked around the neighborhood and stumbled upon a little café, which happened to be the cutest place in the world. I love how in life, you can search for the best places to go on Yelp or Trip Advisor, find the location on Google Maps, and have a whole plan mapped out. Yet somehow, I have found that the most cherished moments are the ones that are unplanned. The ones that are spontaneous and catch you off guard.

We didn’t know anyone when we stepped into the church that day. It was one of those unique times that you feel the presence of the Lord in the room because of the radiant joy and passion overflowing from the people. One by one each person came up to us to give us a warm welcome. Some asked for our names and genuinely wanted to know our story, where we were from, why we are here in Chile. While a lady was on stage greeting everyone as the service started, she asked us to introduce ourselves in front of the church (sounds dramatic I know, but there weren’t too many people there- Chile v. Australia fútbol game was the same time as church 🙂 ).

There is something profoundly beautiful about worshipping Jesus in a different language. I always think about how people all over the world are praising His name in the way that they know how, and all for the same reason. To vibrantly express the bubbling over love for Jesus that we have inside of our hearts and to celebrate the immense, unconditional, incomparable love that He has for us. To jump up and down because of the truth that sets us free, and to sing at the top of our lungs for the grace we do not deserve and the eternal life that we eagerly await until the day we are called home. Something about singing to my Savior, “Tu gracia cautivó mi corazón, tu espiritu me guia a la verdad, tu amor no fallará,” that makes me take a step back in wonder. What a glorious and amazing God we serve that no matter where they are in the world, believers can gather together and share in One hope.

John 16:33 ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Dear friend, thank you for hanging with me tonight! I hope you enjoyed these little anecdotes and life thoughts and analogies. Lately, the Lord has constantly been reminding me that He is enough. To cease striving, let go of the reigns and enjoy the ride.

Ciao from Chile!

Love, Meredith